The political strength of students at HBCUs has created change for decades in this country.
From the movements of the 1960s to the evolution of progressive culture today, college-aged individuals have been one of the main groups energizing the fight for equality.
In Selma, Alabama, Bethune Cookman student Angel Edwards is continuing that legacy. The senior, who is majoring in political science, took on the challenge of being a part of the 57th anniversary of one of the most important events in American history.
Bloody Sunday along with the 54 mile March from Selma to Montgomery, the Capitol of Alabama, helped raise awareness about the struggles of voting for Black people in this country. It led to Congress passing the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that helped eliminate legal barriers for Black people in voting.
Edwards who is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated was able to get down to Selma through a connection with Black Voters Matter Fund, an organization whose goal is to increase power in our communities through voting. Students like Edwards are passionate about preserving Black History and making sure the culture is protected.
“It will bring tears to my eyes when I see that bridge because I’m in love with our history, our culture, and our power,” said Edwards. “They are steadily trying to Kill the other side of the story… the fact that every time there is an advance in Black history, an advance in Black momentum, it’s shut down or local laws go up to combat something or [create] mass confusion about a topic.. it brings interest to me just to bring clarity to it. That attack on Black history is what drives my force in uplifting it and validating it.”
Edwards is aware of just how influential the power of young Black people can be when it comes to creating change. She wants to dissect why Black people are perceived as a threat to White people and bring power to our community.
“I see myself moving forward in diversity and inclusion. That is where my passion is right now. I want to understand why Black power threatens white people,” said Edwards. “It is only through conversation and getting out in the community and having those tough conversations with everybody so that you can include every perspective.”
While she has a heart for her community, she doesn’t see herself as a politician. She is in the community focusing on building relationships and building power rather than just gathering votes. For Edwards, the overall goal is to generate conversation and hopefully provide clarity for people.
This opportunity for her to be in Selma is likely one she won’t soon forget. The chance to place yourself in the footsteps of pioneers is noteworthy in itself but doing that in the presence of Black excellence just makes the experience even sweeter.
“This is The Who’s who of Black people,” said Edwards. “Black leaders, Black philosophers, Black students, HBCU students, PWI students, everybody. Being around that kind of energy, those kinds of people who want to make tangible change and those kinds of people who want to make things shake…that’s really where the passion is.”
Bethune Cookman Senior Angel Edwards’ Quest To Empower Black Communities Through Voting Rights was originally published on newsone.com